Tom Hardy's Venom is a performance capture role, reveals Andy Serkis (exclusive)

‘Breathe’ director and performance capture pioneer Andy Serkis has revealed that Tom Hardy’s role in the Spider-Man spin-off ‘Venom’ will be achieved using performance capture. It’s the first time the ‘Dunkirk’ star has played a digital character on screen.

Talking to Yahoo Movies about his directorial debut ‘Breathe’, the conversation turned towards whether performance capture roles, like Gollum or Caesar in ‘War For The Planet of the Apes’, deserved awards recognition. Serkis, who runs performance capture studio The Imaginarium wholeheartedly supports the idea, letting slip the ‘Venom’ secret mid-conversation.

“The time has come that people understand that performance capture is a technology, not a genre of acting,” Serkis explains in our video above.

“Acting is acting, and the more actors – like Steve Zahn… and Karin Konoval who plays Maurice in ‘War For The Planet of the Apes’ – the more A-list actors that come on board, like Mark Rylance playing The BFG, or a lot of actors in the new Marvel films… Tom Hardy is playing a new character using performance capture. It all points up ‘what is the nature of acting?’ and there is no difference between acting wearing a costume and make up, or wearing a motion capture suit. That’s plain and simple, it just needs awarding bodies to understand that.”

Tom Hardy will play Venom using performance capture (Getty/Sony Pictures)
Tom Hardy will play Venom using performance capture (Getty/Sony Pictures)

Although Serkis doesn’t directly reference ‘Venom’, we know that Tom Hardy’s Spider-Man spin-off started shooting this week, so it’s not hard to put two and two together. Performance capture sees cameras filming actors wearing skin-tight lycra bodysuits covered in dots on a soundstage or film set. We bet there’s a lot of Tom Hardy fans who’d love to see those behind-the-scenes photos.

That the Spider-Man nemesis would be realised using performance capture shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise either, as his previous appearance in ‘Spider-Man 3’ was largely a CGI performance, particularly when the black symbiote suit was worn by Topher Grace’s Eddie Brock.

Serkis’ comments suggest his London-based studio The Imaginarium will help ‘Venom’ director Ruben Fleischer to capture Hardy’s performance using the same technology used by Joss Whedon and Mark Ruffalo to achieve Hulk in ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’.

Sony Pictures’ ‘Venom’ starring Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, and Jenny Slate is set for release in October, 2018. Confusingly, ‘Venom’ won’t be part of Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe, but is part of the same universe established in ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’. Clear as mud.

Andy Serkis’ ‘Breathe’ – starring former ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ star Andrew Garfield – arrives in cinemas this Friday, 27 October. Watch a clip below.

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